Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What Will Museveni Next Do in Sudan?

In September 2005 this blog reported:

According to report in the Nation, "A source said Khartoum is particularly concerned that President Museveni entered Sudanese territory without informing the central authority. According to military sources, the president entered Yei under heavy military escort including battlewagons and heavy artillery."

This occurred when Museveni traveled to attend the funeral of Dr. John Garang in Southern Sudan city of Yei. Almost a year later, Museveni has tried yet another trick to reduce the GOSS to a surrogate administration in which he can come as and when he likes without any protocol. This is really a very dangerous precedent. Museveni has a large deployment of soldiers allegedly for the purpose of an operation that was named "Iron Fist", an attempt to 'finish off' the last of the LRA. This year, even when Museveni has agreed to have a peace negotiation to solve the problem that has bedeviled northern Uganda for close to twenty years, the Uganda forces are still deployed in southern Sudan without restriction when a peace talk is going on in Juba.
This time Museveni traveled to Juba with five different aircraft: the presidential jet and four other helicopters. Is this the "Invasion of Sudan" that Museveni has been planning for a long time? According to protocol, Museveni should have gone to Khartoum first before proceeding to Juba. So, what is really going on here?
Considering the international interest in Sudan as a whole, Museveni is on a mission that has nothing to do with peace talks going on in Juba. The fact that he has been reported to have met the LRA delegation and berated and merely abused them is indicative that his main aim is not peace negotiations. Museveni is searching for some "buttons" to push in order to torpedo the talks and achieve his aims in southern Sudan.
There is a Lwo saying that says: "Lewic weko icamo awola" which means that you see a man poisoning food and offering it to you but you are too shy to refuse and end up dead. The security of Southern Sudan is also the security of northern Uganda and consequently, the security of the rest of Uganda and the great lakes regions of Africa. Can we count on Salva Kir to rise up to the challenge?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sudan Must Decide to Move Ugandan Troops to the Border


When Uganda government fell out with Congo, they sent their army into Congo to follow the rebels of the ADF there. What followed the arrival and stay of Uganda forces in Congo is a long list of mayhem and looting of Congo mineral wealth under various companies overseen by the Uganda army. Different militias were armed to exact killings against the other tribes in the region. The arms used were supplied by the Uganda army. The only people who operated in these areas were Uganda, Rwanda and Congolese nationals. Nothing has been heard about the ADF in spite of that being the reason Uganda went into Congo in the first place.

Now, using a similar strategies, Uganda has turned its attention to Sudan. The presence of Uganda troops in Sudan should have been very much modified such that they should have been staying close to the border. But for some reasons or others, Uganda troops are roaming free in southern Sudan as if it was its own territory. Does the question of sovereignty matter anymore?

A truce has been signed between Uganda and LRA witnessed by the government of Southern Sudan. Our able reporters of the Daily Monitor in Southern Sudan and Uganda have reported that the truce has been broken or violated by both the LRA and Uganda government. These reporters are aware that the LRA was to report to two locations: Owiny Kibul and Rii Kwangba. Although these reporters were not part of the negotiation, couldn't they see that this was tantamount to suicide by the LRA? But they did not even as much as point that out; let alone taking the high ground of criticizing it for ‘impossibility of performance.’ So, the UPDF comes very close to Owiny Kibul where LRA are converging. The LRA sees danger and vacates the location. Monitor reporters wrote that LRA and government troops have violated the spirit of the agreement. This glaring conspiracy will do nothing but erode any vestige of confidence in the intention of Uganda government troops. In truth, it was the approaching encirclement by UPDF that caused the LRA to leave the assembly point.
The reporters also stated “Eyewitnesses claim the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army carried out the massacres.” Who are the eyewitnesses and who interviewed them? Without this information, the newspaper would be better off not publishing such a questionable story and sending it around the world. When several attempts to negotiate peace were made within Uganda, it never lasted as long as it has lasted in Juba today. The UPDF would find ways to try and ambush the rebels and as soon as the LRA gets winds of UPDF plans, they would disperse for their safety. That would be the end of peace talks.
Now with the involvement of the government of southern Sudan, the UPDF are finding it very difficult to torpedo the peace talks. However, they are not leaving any ‘stones unturned’ before continuing with the peace talks. Already they have participated in killing 41 people most of whom were civilian with the hope that they can embroil southern Sudan in the mess and eventually scuttle the peace talks. Sudan has acknowledged the four attacks by ‘different armed ambushes by a group we have not yet ascertained’ but Uganda has already put the blame, unequivocally, on the LRA. How can this be? And as would be intended by Uganda, Machar responded with great emotion as reported in the Monitor newspaper from Uganda; “Shocked and incensed by the violent scene, Machar drove back to Juba and summoned the LRA delegation for a meeting on Tuesday night. The LRA negotiators, who had stayed at the Juba Bridge Hotel in protest over Sunday's incursions, however, declined to respond to Machar’s calls.” Under this scenario, Uganda hopes to impel Sudan to make rash decisions and perhaps even attack the LRA thereby scuttling the peace talks completely.


Uganda government especially the military wing composed of the original NRA, do not wish to relinquish power and the privileges they have become so used to in the past eighteen years or so. Furthermore, the piecemeal operations towards the LRA provide ample excuses and tangible proofs to attract more funds from donors than a successful return of peace to the region. Also, the economic damage in the north is a big boon for diverted funds to the south where the bigwigs of NRA come from. This will stop as soon as there is peaceful resolution and ensuing reconstruction of the north. And most ominous of all is the combined size and quality of economic recovery of northern and eastern regions of Uganda plus all the peripheral regions including southern Sudan. These regions that have been suffering under Museveni dictatorial regime will become an unassailable force against Yoweri’s army of oppressors. Sudan can demand that Uganda soldiers be located on Uganda side of the border for as long as the peace talks last so that it will have fewer forces to deal with on its side of the border. It is its sovereign's right to demand so! This is the most relevant decision it can make immediately. Otherwise Museveni is going to cause mayhem in southern Sudan.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Do Not Torpedo the Peace Talks in Juba

Something tells me this Juba Peace talks is about something else other than peace. Why are the Uganda and Southern Sudan government intent on LRA assembling in two locations and signing of the documents in a great hurry?
Why would anybody even consider that the peace talks proceed with ICC threat unresolved? Museveni, has to provide conditions to keep the ICC away from Kony and his commanders, otherwise there will be no peace involving those five men. These two issues are mutually exclusive. Without these men, there must be modified peace talks, becasue the people of Uganda in the affected areas still need peace from the government of Museveni.
Twenty years of oppression and mistrust cannot be wiped out by mere signing of documents in Juba.
There are specific conditions that are indicative of hidden traps and tricks. Would Garang have agreed to assemble the SPLA in a location that can easily be ambushed by Sudan government? If not, why would they include this condition for the LRA without safeguard?
If Riek Machar is impartial, why is he treating the LRA as if they have no rights and obligations?
If Museveni really wants peace, why is he constantly threatening the LRA with force if they did not assemble at the two locations, or sign peace by some given dates?
What does the army commander General Aronda mean when he says that it is “free for all”?
Failure of a comprehensive peace agreement should be put on the government of Uganda and Sudan for maintaining a stance that creates fear and distrust to the LRA.
Museveni has in the past lured rebels out of the bush with false promises of peace only to turn around and liquidate them one by one.
If these people are really in a hurry for peace to return to the country, then they should remove threats and relocate UPDF south of Karuma. The LRA then can be in charge of peace development and security in the north. That should be coupled with messages that promote trust and confidence in both sides. Right now, what is happening is that some UPDF commanders begin to talk provocatively the moment there are positive moves towards peaceful resolution. This is because they will lose some of the benefits from operations against the rebels.
So, the best thing that the government of Southern Sudan can do is have patience and facilitate peace talk to all available extent. Assembling in specific locations seems to be the least to worry about if the two sides are ready for peace. So far the LRA have indicated maturity and seriousness by controlling its fighters, while losing some to Uganda government forces, although they are not confined in any specific locations. After exhaustive searches for solutions, the proponents may then say, " We have done our best."